Stop, or I’ll tour!

So: Parliament has been prorogued. What is to be done about it? Answer: not bloody much.


So: Parliament has been prorogued. What is to be done about it? Answer: not bloody much.

Certainly there’s no evidence the public is up in arms about it, notwithstanding the Star’s typically tendentious headline. Smug Tory types whose response to every principled objection is “nobody cares” are, unfortunately, right: the 38,000 plus who have subscribed to that facebook page are indicative of very little: most, I would bet, are opposition partisans. Were their situations reversed, they would be saying the same things the Tories are.

Neither can we expect much from the opposition leaders: neither Ignatieff nor Layton could apparently be arsed to postpone their vacations — though Iggy at least managed to release a wan op-ed piece denouncing the government in the series of sentence fragments (“Messy. Inconvenient. Frustrating. Democracy is all those things.”) that are the preferred idiom of the contemporary politician. “Last week’s shutting down of Parliament was a key moment,” he writes. “It was one of those moments of supreme clarity. The audacity. The epic scale of the cynicism. The arrogance of a regime that thinks it can get away with just about anything.”

But that’s all going to change now. The opposition leader isn’t going to take this lying down. Nosir. No, to protest this outrage, he’s going to … go on a listening tour. “Mr. Harper may not want to face the public, but we will get out there and meet Canadians in universities, in town hall meetings and other public events from coast to coast to coast. We will seek their views and exchange ideas.” That’ll show ’em. Just wait till he gets back from the south of France.

But as for more substantive protests — such as convening a mock Parliament, as suggested by A. Hotheadn’incluez nous pas.

In a way, I can’t blame them. You can only rouse the public to defend something if the thing is generally considered worth defending. But so degraded is Parliament’s condition already — the consequence of many previous such assaults on parliamentary rights, each of which was thought too trivial on its own to be worth making a fuss — that it’s hard for the public to see what is being lost. It’s only Parliament, after all. It’s not as if it’s something important.

This is the problem. It’s not prorogation, on its own, that puts us on the path to despotism. It’s the cumulative weakening of our democratic defenses, and more important, of our democratic instincts. Each new precedent conditions us to accept the next, and the next, to the point that if we ever do arrive at the end of the Tyranny line, no one will even know, let alone care: we will have nothing left to compare it to. (We scoff at such overheated rhetoric now, but if Canadians in the 1950s had been presented with the package of changes that have occurred since then in the way we are governed, they would have risen up in revolt.) And if the public doesn’t care, neither will the opposition. You might think it was the job of a political leader to get out in front of the public on this — to, you know, lead — but if so, you don’t know Canadian politics.

In any case, the party leaders are in something of a conflict of interest. For one day they will be in government, or hope to be, and the powers and prerogatives the Harper conservatives have arrogated to themselves will be powers and prerogatives they may wish to enjoy. As, if experience is any guide, they almost certainly will. If there is one sure lesson of Canadian history, it is that no political principle long survives its first encounter with power. What most provokes a party leader in opposition is what he is most likely to practice once in government.

This isn’t really a contest, in other words, between the parties. It is between Parliament and government — present or prospective. If anyone is to defend the rights and privileges of Parliament, it will not be the party leaders. It will have to be ordinary members of Parliament.

But how likely is that? If MPs had the kind of backbone that would induce them to come to Parliament’s defense, they would have done so long before this. But of course they don’t. Any MP who showed the slightest tendency in that direction would find himself unable to get his nomination papers signed, and without the party’s backing could not hope to be elected. Independence of mind has been bred out of our MPs, much as dogs are bred not to bite.

So nothing is going to come of this, I’m afraid. It might, if Parliament mattered much, but as Parliament does not matter, it won’t.

UPDATE: In the interest of equal time, I should point out that there is also a facebook page for Canadians FOR Proroguing Parliament. So far they have 19 members, but one of them is Ezra.


Stop, or I’ll tour!

  1. "…most, I would bet, are opposition partisans."

    Actually Andrew, it might even be worse.

    Most, I would bet, are not.

  2. Mr Coyne, I'd suggest nominating you for Governor General, but then a) you probably wouldn't be blogging or podcasting quite so much, and b) if Parliament doesn't matter, how long will it be until the rest of our institutions go down the toilet?

    • Given his interpretation of certain events in 2005 as a "confidence motion", I would counter that he would be one of the least suited journalists for the task.

  3. I guess we'll have to wait for an election that results in a minority government. Then, the opposition parties and individual MPs will be much more empowered in the House and have more influence over…oh, never mind.

  4. if Canadians in the 1950s had been presented with the package of changes that have occurred since then in the way we are governed, they would have risen up in revolt

    While this is probably true, it's not really particular to changes in governance, and consequently irrelevant; if Canadians in the 1950s had been presented with the policies of the half-century to come, all at once, I tend to imagine similar revolt. Is the solution to prohibit scandalizing our ancestors generally, in a Chestertonian vein, then? Or are policy changes based on gradually changing public opinion fine, but governance must always remain in the purest Westminster tradition?

  5. Gee Andrew, you're always going on (rightfully so) about how Canadians are apathetic politically, and when 35 000 (actually, it's now 38 000.. 3000 more have joined in the time since you posted this) join a FB group decrying this (a FB group started by a University student from Alberta – of all places for a Harper protest to initiate), in less then a week of it's creation suddenly they all must be opposition supporters?

    That's the other thing – the group has only been active for a week.. and it's numbers have been climbing by the thousands today. Lets see where it ends up by January 25.

    • It's now up to 70,000…Positive or negative, it is getting a lot of attention.

  6. I think I've been the one saying "nobody cares" here more than anyone else but I'm not a smug Tory (I have voted for four different political parties at the federal level over the last two decades).

    The reason "nobody cares" is because it just isn't that important for Parliament to be sitting all the time. Parliament matters to be sure. But if you asked Canadians what the most important things in their life are, Parliament wouldn't make the top 500 for most of us. I think the people who tried to make this a big thing just made fools of themselves. By all means, criticize the government (any government of any party) but criticize them intelligently.

    This knee jerk reaction was not only a waste of time, it probably de-legitimized future valid criticism because the next time there is a flap, a few more people are going to think, "Aren't those the same crazy people who got all heated up about that prorogation trifle."

  7. Anyone else noticed how Coyne himself suffers from the very cynicism he is condemming?

  8. judging by a lot of the LTTP statements on the group's wall, I think Mark's right.

  9. Exactly my take: why come talk to us about if you aren't prepared to have the courage of your convictions? What better reason for an election than democratizing our governance?

  10. "It's the cumulative weakening of our democratic defenses, and more important, of our democratic instincts. Each new precedent conditions us to accept the next, and the next, to the point that if we ever do arrive at the end of the Tyranny line, no one will even know, let alone care: we will have nothing left to compare it to."


  11. Is he condemning cynicism or the lethargy that has enabled it?

  12. Stop, or tens of thousands of people will shout "stop" again.

  13. Is there a difference?

  14. It's sure going to be embarrassing for y'all when Facebook proves to accomplish nothing and put pressure on no one.

  15. and you base this opinion on……

  16. The path to despotism? You can do better than this, AC, can't you? You're sounding like those desperate Facebook partisans you mentioned. All hysteria, no perspective.

  17. Iggy must be so mad that he is burning cars in France.

    • Iggy is pissed because he had to cut his extended holidays in France because another liberal photo contest backfired.

      Iggy (France) and Jack (Belize) on vacation, Stephen at work in Ottawa.

      We found Waldo!

  18. Oh, and I guess my attitude makes me one of those "smug Tory types." Cool!

  19. Right, because they officially stop being MPs when the House isn't actually sitting, and lose all associated political pull, social standing and staff attending to ongoing constituency files.

    Oh, wait…

  20. Back in the late 80's and 90's English Canadians told Quebec to F itself with the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords. If one of those accords were to be promoted today, we would tell Canada to go F itself.

    • Canada could only hope…we keep waiting for you losers to leave, but, being the shiftless welfare bums you are, you are never going to go…

  21. Notice how the MacLean's hacks are mentioning FaceBook on each post, thus inviting the churlish ConBots to sneer at the whole effort.

  22. what political pull do they have in Parliament isn't sitting? What can my Member of PARLIAMENT do for me if there is no Parliament, avr?

    • Well, they can do personal favours for people (non-slimey perfectly legitimate ones like explaining to constituents which government office would be the best place to address their complaints, etc.) And if they are part of the executive and you have interests in their portfolio than stuff can happen there too.

      But most other stuff would be stuff that your MP would promise to do once parliament is sitting again.

      But when parliament gets shut down without regard for whether everythings been done, it makes the work they can do for you and less and less, certainly.

  23. Of course there is.

  24. All this Liberal outrage has the same quality as Muslim outrage. Chretien prorogued 3-4 times, no Liberal outrage!
    The Chretien gov't had scandal after scandal, and multi-million dollar boondoggles…no Liberal outrage!
    Why doesn't Iggy go back to the States and give us a rest? He's halfwitted.. AC

  25. You're a little thick, aren't you.

  26. I'm listening…

  27. Mr. Coyne,
    You are right for the most. Maybe, and it is a big one, an elected Senate would have the backbone, and the mandate, to bring our political leaders back up to a higher moral ground. I dream, I know, but given the high level of apathy amongst electorate, what else can we hope for.

  28. I'm going to disagree with you. I think there have been times when Canadians stood up and weren't going to just sit there and take it. Meech Lake was one example. The coalition monstrosity was another.

  29. and not realizing that they are providing tons of promo for the FB page they so desperately are trying to discredit.

    I'd venture to say that the pundits repeated dismissal of the FB page is directly responsible for the speed at which people are signing up.

  30. I agree entirely with your idea that it's about government v parliament and not specific parties and what they have done. To me, Cons and Libs = same sh*t, different pile.

    In my opinion, the last time Parliament mattered was when Mulroney proposed free trade. Ever since the free trade election, it seems that MPs are in race to bottom. Anything goes if it's not illegal and will help your side. All governments have been doing for the past twenty years is marketing themselves and not really governing.

    And don't get me started on the quality of MPs nowadays – this idea that we need to pay MPs top dollar to attract talent is risible. No one in their right mind would want to be an emasculated MP – doesn't matter how much money is on offer – and the people who are attracted to politics are not remotely worth their salaries.

    • No Free Trade – Vote Mulroney!

      whoops, I meant:

      No Free Trade Vote – Mulroney!


  31. Well said, Mr. Coyne. Well said.

    On this issue, I don't care if it helps or hurts the Liberal Party, or moves them up in the polls, or the Conservatives down. This is bigger than parties.

    It didn't start with Harper by any means and this is not the end of democracy in Canada by any means. After all, isn't that why Martin created three separate democratic reform cabinet ministries!! (The last sentence is a sarcastic joke, ok.)

    There is something happening with this that feels a lot more like the early days of the Reform Party than the latest "outrage" over Harper's "bullying". The concern/anger is taking shape without and even despite the opposition parties. I know for the first time in a while, I've gotten much more engaged and active already than just blog comments and Facebook groups.

    We'll see though. Maybe Canadians are as apathatic as Mr. Coyne thinks we are and Harper hopes we are.

  32. Good; that makes it even easier to dismiss, if support is coming largely from opposition supporters who are doing it just to spite us "conbots."

  33. Gee Andrew! Your usual right-wing views on the At Issue panel generally bore me to tears! Dare I say you sound a bit more interesting of late? Have you finally been infected with a concern, however belated, with our democracy? I may yet grow to like you a bit more than I have to date….Nah, maybe not.

  34. I think my question was fairly simple, avr. I'll just cut and paste in case you missed it the first time:

    "What can my Member of PARLIAMENT do for me if there is no Parliament, avr?"

    Let's see if you can answer without decompensating… again.

    • Baird just announced full body scans for international airports…..and Parliament isn't sitting.

  35. Canadians didn't do anything regarding Meech Lake. We didn't take to the streets. Canadians don't protest. We sit and bitch whine and complain. It took a first nation's dude to kill Meech.

  36. If you were going to pick a place in Alberta for the hypothetical anti-Conservative backlash to begin, "the University of Alberta" would be everyone's first choice. In spite of Alberta's reputation as a Conservative monolith, Edmonton is the most anti-Conservative city in the province and the University area is the most anti-Conservative region in the city.

    In fact, you may be interested to know that the University riding produced the only non-Conservative Alberta MP in the current parliament: New Democrat Linda Duncan.

  37. He's condemning opposition lethargy and public apathy in response to Harper's cynical proroguation. His attitude towards the Facebook mobilization seems more skeptical than cynical.

  38. In other words, you only started noticing when his views on the matter coincided with your ideological and partisan outlook, since he's been a Mr. Choir Boy on these issues ever since I can remember.

  39. Lets see the last 4 weeks in parliament they where fighting about the possible torture of an Afghan detainee , Quit an achievement with zero result . Iggy is a Human rights activist no wonder he is shouting from the hill. Harper must be laughing his buts of watching the frustration of Iggy not going anywhere.

    • MI is cutting his vacation short. His webteam has won the stupid prize again. Iffy vacationing in France, Layon vacationing in Mexico, Harper in Ottawa at work. Go figure!

      Where is the adult supervision?

  40. I'll repeat myself in plainer language since you seem to have a problem with subtlety: the exact same things they can do for you any other time the House isn't sitting, which is to say, anything that doesn't require their presence on a legislative or procedural vote.

    If you think constituency work has no value at any time, that's fine, but pretending that the current state of affairs represents a dramatically new and different kind of impotence on the part of MPs outside the House is fairly idiotic.

  41. I used to respect Andrew Coyne because he wasn't afraid to criticize the conservatives. But for some reason he choses to skewer Iggy and Jack for being on vacation while Stevie undermines our democracy. Unbelievable.

  42. It was called the Charlottetown Accord. I suggest you look it up. Coles Notes version: a second attempt to pass Meech Lake by the country's elites, Canadians voted no.

    Wow, a five week break, and people are supposed to storm 24 Sussex, as one of those Facebook hooligans suggested.

  43. To be fair, yes, you're quite right! LOL! But, I still don't think I'm going to become Andrew's admirer anytime soon. I like to keep my dinner in my digestive system, where it does me most good.

  44. proROGUE. The conservatives are playing politics, and not governing. As for their extended Vacation, Don't pay them./ The rest of us wouldn't get paid if we didn't go to work./ Neither should they.

  45. Most of an MPs work is done and can only be done when Parliament is sitting. Committee work, researching and preparing reports for Parliament, hearings from experts on the impact of legislation, receiving formal petitions from constituents, receiving reports from civil servants, and yes Question Period (which according to the PMO last year was the primary means of keeping cabinet ministers accountable to the people).

    Three months for a Harper Holiday means not only that that work is not being done, but that over half of last year's work – and the cost of it in the millions – is wasted.

  46. they oppose the Tories like they'd oppose anyone who is "attacking their rights".

    My experience indicates that partisanship comes with at least an ounce of current affairs awareness, however coloured; there are comments on that group's page that were discredited months ago (such as a Liberal-NDP partnership in the next election).

  47. Agreed. It's dubbed Redmonton for a reason….though less of a reason, now.

  48. Re: "the 38,000 plus who have subscribed to that facebook page are indicative of very little"

    Andrew: You have surpassed even your own immense capacity for arrogance and intellectual dismissiveness.

    What do you really suppose YOUR opinions are worth compared to, say, "the 38,000 plus who have subscribed to that Facebook page ?"

    Where do you park your massive ego when you go home at night? The Rogers' Center?

  49. Wow, a five week break to kill all the bills the Conservatives have been self-righteously trumpeting for the past year, and whining that the Liberals and the Liberal Senate haven't been supporting.

    Wow, a five week break that appears suspiciously in a slow news cycle so nobody is really paying attention.

    Wow, a five-week break so that the Conservatives can install more Tory senators, and reconstitute senate committees, and resultingly block any inquiry into detainee transfer issues.

    Wow, a five-week break so that the Conservatives can introduce their platform via Speech From The Throne and deliberately make it harder for the opposition to get their message out.

    Wow, a five week break so that the Opposition MPs are forced to ask their questions through the media, instead of in Parliament, which their own spokespeople acknowledge as the primary method through which the government is held to account.

    I could go on.

  50. Andrew Coyne is not my idea of a fighter for democracy. He stood by the Conservatives on the issue of Trust Units. They promised to permit them to continue and then broker their word. Andrew Coyne didnt think this was a bald-faced lie to the over two million Canadians….he chuckled and went on supporting the Harper government. A man of principles. LOL

  51. Canadians VOTED no, as opposed to, you know getting out in the streets and protesting.

  52. It's not prorogation, on its own, that puts us on the path to despotism

    Christmas just ended and Andrew needs another vacation. it seems to me, that the fewer days they sit, the less damage they do.

    As for despotism, I think things were a lot worse when we handed over the ability to get an x-ray without seeking the government's permission. Or when we decided we'd have to hand over half of our lifetime earnings to various levels of government. Or perhaps it was when political parties rigged the system to fund themselves without having to ask for the money anymore.

    • The same tired old pattern by those who hate Harper. It must be clinical.

      1) Call him a dictator, despot
      2) Ignore FACTS

      Same with AGWism

      1) Ignore, delete, censor the FACTS that dispute Real Science.

      Same pattern

      They want control, one government transfer wealth and socialism.

  53. The "early signers-on" may very well be "opponents of the Tories" but that is distinctly different from "being opposition partisans". You appear to have missed my point entirely.

  54. The current situation is not.
    As Coyne points out, however, the trendline indicates that the situation in Iran is our destination.

    And the problem is people exactly like you, who don't feel that it's important.

  55. LOL. Andrew writes: "the 38,000 plus who have subscribed to that facebook page are indicative of very little: most, I would bet, are opposition partisans" and thus dismisses the opinions of more people than actually read his column. That's the point where I stopped reading since, clearly, the opinions of partisans aren't worth much.

    • I have a problem with AC's rather blithe dismissal too…i visited the site to sign on and in under a minute found my sister in law. Not a political partisn, in fact an intern pastor…ok it's only one individual, but i'd bet she's not the only non political citizen making their voice heard.

  56. I don't think Canadians are quite as apathetic as AC seems to think they are. It just depends on what the issue is. I think the Conservatives have overstepped themselves this time by more than just a little, and Canadians are taking notice. I truly believe the Conservatives will not walk away from this one without at least some dents in their armour, if not some outright gaping holes. Even Canadians have a limit when it comes to political shenanigans, and I personally believe the Conservatives have exceeded that limit this time. Don't be surprised if you start seeing this grow into a major crisis for the Conservatives in the next little while…

  57. "Were their situations reversed, they would be saying the same things the Tories are." Hardly a decent arguing point, given Harpers previous incarnations as defender of open and honest govt the last time the Liberals tried to prorogue parliament. Harper literally frothed then. So what of it Andrew? Your guys in power so who cares? Hold them ALL to account or give up is your choice. Seems you've given up, and sadly have accepted it. Thats the time political writers normally choose to retire.

  58. Judging by how effectively facebook has ended repression of political dissidents in Iran and genocide in the Sudan, I'm sure Harper is quaking in his boots over this.

    Or not.

  59. Would be nice (in the interest of balanced reporting) to review the number of times Parliament was prorogued by government in the past (Mr. Trudeau 11 times, Mr. Mulroney 2, Mr. Chretien 4). I can't recall much fuss made about it then. So what's the big deal now?

  60. Chretien prorogued 3-4 times

    Chretien, as PM, never had the support of less than 50% of the House of Commons. Proroguing Parliament against the wishes of 45% of the House of Commons is surely somewhat different than proroguing Parliament against the wishes of 55% of the House of Commons, is it not? Just about every time Chretien prorogued Parliament he could have gotten majority support in the House for his prorogation. Surely that makes a difference.

  61. Can you really not see the connection between these things?

    As people have less respect for the institution where are laws are made, they pay less attention to the laws that get made there.

    Its all bad for democracy and liberty.

  62. I'm sorry, but this is complete and utter nonsense. Nothing more than partisans who hate the fact that Harper keeps winning.

  63. Well, leftists and liberals have been saying the same thing practically since Harper took office. So, I'm obviously not as confident in its significance as you are.

    • Of course you're not. You're a Harper devotee.

  64. "As Coyne points out, however, the trendline indicates that the situation in Iran is our destination."

    Isn't that kind of like saying that just because someone is walking west along Portage Ave in Winnipeg that they are destined to end up at the Pacific Ocean?

  65. Worse, they'll end up in St. James!

  66. Orangemonton?

  67. Canadians don't care what you think.

  68. The Liberal feces throwing monkeys still can't get anything to stick to that wet wall.

    Iggy is done, next Boob Rae, after that no more LPoC.

  69. Dear Andrew:

    I am not on Facebook.

    Some might consider me a Tory. Some who might consider me a Tory even work in the darkest corners of Mordor itself.

    However, because I don't believe in the equation "what gets us through today = principle = best interests of Canada," were I on Facebook, I would cheerfully join "Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament," or whatever it's called.

    So the ratio is at least 38,000:1 of Opposition Partisans: Tories who hate this alarming move.

    I hope that helps.

  70. Au contraire there were more than 5000 supporters at the Manitoba legislature the day Elijah Harper refused to provide his consent to continue to third reading.

  71. As Andrew said there, it is exactly because they know Canadians today will not rise up for a revolt as those in the 50s would. Don't blame the politicians for playing games. What else are they there for? Blame us for allowing them.

  72. Proroguing a parliament that has already read and passed a number of your most vetted bills? Thus sending them back to the line? Scandalous! If Harper is trying to play politics he is doing so at his own expense. Or perhaps at the expense of the Liberal dominated senate that obstructs everything, including bills with unanimous support.

    The current prorogation is a visible function of democracy, not the opposite.

  73. I think you'll find, if you dig a little deeper, that the vast majority of those previous prorogations were done because the main order of business of parliament had completed its course. I think there may have been three exeptions to this going back a fair ways. To have two proragations within a year, and being used solely for the purpose of the government side stepping a major crisis, or trying to put a stop to severe criticism and damaging investigation, and not being related at all to parliamentary business being completed is actually quite out of the ordinary, and Canadians are rightfully outraged about this. How long this outrage lasts, and how much it continues to grow remains to be seen.

  74. Your comment is only worth reading up to the end of your first sentence. Your inherent racism drowns out your tired arguments about the fall of the Canadian Liberal Empire under Emperor Chretien. Yes, let's not listen to Liberals (or Muslims?) complain about the failure of parliament or about Canadian citizens rotting in foreign prisons or torture allgeations or any number of issues which criticize the current regime because Chretien and his cronies did something bad 10 years ago. Give the tired Liberals=Chretien thing a rest and lay off the Islamophobia while you're at it. Good god, given your mentality, Obama could have taken out half the world and no one should complain cuz Bush started it. Oh wait, he's a Muslim!

  75. The problem is not that Harper has prorogued the Parliament. The problem is that the Opposition and the media elites have declared this to be a bad government, and rather than defeating it with a vote of non-confidence, they choose to whine about it, since there the Opposition and the media elite are afraid they would lose the election.

    Harper can prorogue because the Opposition is yellow. Speech for the Throne and a Budget coming up. Lots of opportunity to bring down this bad government, if the whiners had the courage of their supposed convictions.

  76. Coyne wants changes to the system. Well as he rightly points out who is going to make those changes? Like his beloved changes to the way we vote there will be no changes because it does not benefit those who govern no matter which party.
    Does he think the nutty professor who thinks visiting universities is going to get him elected will make those changes? The Libs benefited from the perks of power for most of the last century and exercised those powers to their fullest extent. Now you expect a minority Conservative prime minister to unilateraly disarm himself.
    The closest we came was Paul Martin when the rallying cry was who do you know in the PM. He talked about fixing the democratic deficit if elected. He was and he couldn't even find the bathroom. So don't get high and mighty Coyne. You are spitting in the wind and no politician is going to stop using his powers. Here's an idea Coyne. Run for parliament and get elected. Lets see how long your high ideals last in that cess pool known as Canadian politics.

  77. That's been the whole problem. The opposition and the media turn everything into a so called scandal. So Canadians are making their own decisions about what is a scandal. They sure aren't buying into this crap that the left is trying to choke down everybody's throat.
    You are right nobody will buy a real scandal if it hits them in the face because of all the sheep crying wolf everyday of the week.

  78. Oh get off your arrogant high horse! We are embarassed by your comments that we see every time there is a column written.

  79. Yes the trend line will continue if we see Liberals ever getting power again. Fat chance though.

  80. I'm sure that you are the same person who thought that a coalition government was anti-democratic too. You can't pick and choose which parts of Canadian government are good and which are bad just because you support the Tories

  81. I think you've misread this one, Andrew. I'm on the west coast, over 60 and never been partisan in my life (at least not consistently enough to belong to a 'party') – people are mad. And it's all age groups. We are a tolerant people, by and large, but this time this little pimple of a twerp has gone too far and has shown himself to be completely disrespectful of the Canadian public.

    I believe that he's going to try to force an election in 2010 for the simple reason that the income trusts dry up at the end of that year (save for REITS) and beginning 2011, many of the voting public will have a reduced fixed income because of his original promise and will be further angered.

    I think this puppy has legs and mr harper has misread big time.

  82. Particularly if that member of parliament happens to be sitting in the Liberal caucus. It is even more relevant for the opposition MPs my friend.

  83. Like every other faux scandal the media types and I include Coyne sound like hysterical school girls. The sky is falling or my God the sky is falling. Run for the hills. Armagedon is nigh.

  84. Don't bother. We get the drift. You don't like Harper and the Conservative government.

  85. i seem to remember Chretien won a majority government with 38% of the vote '97 or 2000. Given our system there are few governments that are elected with 50% of the vote. Try to find something factual other than propaganda. The government is the government no matter what %'age of the vote they get. That's our system.

  86. Well Mr. Coyne is getting it from both sides, so I would call this one a pretty objective assessment.

    Personally, I am surprised at neither the prorogation nor the apathy. I have long watched the disintegration of democracy in Alberta – the Legislature here sits for only a few weeks a year – and no one seems to care. Bills are pushed through with little to no debate. I blame the citizens who cannot be bothered to learn about what is happening and why.

    But at the same time, while people have a duty to be informed, the media has the duty to inform. I guess stories about the democratic deficit do not sell papers.

    Maybe it is a chicken and egg thing.

  87. Obviously you know nothing about what government does or you are simply a partisan hack. The fact is I would challenge you about how much time Stephen Harper spends working than you or any of your other leftards. Government is a 24 hour 7 day a week busines. You may not like what they are doing but they are working.

  88. OMG! The Stop the TV Tax campaign has over 80,000 facebook friends. Rogers and Bell are going to take over the Government of Canada.

  89. Actually, it speaks to the bloody lack of substance in the Conservative's legislative agenda.

  90. The whimpering sound and flatulent fury coming out of the Liberal Beast in it's final death throes …. sooo obvious

    • The Liberals going to the dustbin in history is not evident for the remaining birkenstockers. These socialists don't listen or understand how democracy works.

  91. I never said anything whatsoever about the popular vote, I made specific and explicit reference to majority support in the House of Commons.

    The government is indeed the government even if they get less than 50% of the popular vote in the election, and as you point out, Chretien won majority governments with relatively low popular support. None of which has anything to do with my comment.

    Chretien's governments may not have always garnered the support of the majority of the electorate, however, they were MAJORITY governments with the majority of MPs sitting on the government side. I know the Tories would like us all to believe that there's no material difference between a minority government and a majority government, but that doesn't make it so. I maintain that it is indeed a different kettle of fish all together for Chretien to prorogue Parliament with the governing party holding 55% of the seats in the House than it is for Harper to prorogue Parliament with the governing party only holding only 47% of the seats. It's no less "legal" or "legitimate" perhaps, but it is materially different, imho, for a majority government with more seats than the combined opposition to prorogue Parliament than it is for a minority government to do so against the public objections of the opposition (who hold a majority of the seats in the House). I don't believe that Chretien ever prorogued Parliament in a situation in which he could have realistically been defeated on a vote in the House regarding whether or not to prorogue, while both times Harper has prorogued it has been crystal clear to everyone that a motion in the House asking "That this Parliament prorogue until Spring" would be roundly defeated, and in the case of the first prorogation it was designed specifically to avoid a vote in the House of Commons.

    Proroguing Parliament over the opposition's objections is different if you have more seats than the opposition than it is if you have less. Or, it should be.

  92. Is he/she a Conservative? According to Dimitri Soudas he's going to be consulting with you. So, stay by the phone – he'll be calling anytime soon. I'm holding out for dinner and drinks with mine.

  93. Exactly.

    Not to mention, it's one thing for a government to prorogue Parliament when the actually control the House, it's another when the government is in a minority. I'd imagine in the case of any of Chretien and Mulroney's prorogations the government could very well have passed a motion in the House asking that Parliament be prorogued, and it would have passed.

    Ignoring the opposition in Parliament (or shutting down Parliament specifically to stop the opposition from voting against you) is one thing when you've won enough seats in an election to outnumber the opposition. I maintain that it's another kettle of fish entirely to ignore an opposition that has more seats than you by shutting down Parliament to stop the opposition from using that fact to their advantage.

  94. "…they would have risen up in revolt." What does rising up and revolting in 2010 in Canada look like ?! We have been so apathetic for so long… when we're this mad, we don't even know what to do!

    We obviously can't rely on the leader to do the work… what can we do?!

  95. I agree that the issue is much more important than any partisan positioning…..but I think you sell us short, Andrew, by suggesting that the outrage being expressed is based on where one stands i.e if it's done by my team, it's ok. I don't think you'd see this kind of outrage if it was purely a partisan issue. I think people are reacting to the slow, insidious dismantling of the premise of democracy and the parliamentary process. Please Andrew….give us some credit!

  96. Exactly – parliament has been prorogued before and by the Liberals. This is only the end of the world for the MSM as they now have NOTHING to write about and they might actually have to do some real research and reporting rather than just repeating what the politicians say.

  97. Andrew, where would you place this instance of prorogation as compared to PM Martin ignoring a non-confidence motion (on a technicality) long enough to bribe someone into crossing the floor? Same? Worse? Not as bad?

    Or compared to David Emerson crossing the floor?

    Maybe it's just "Peter & the Wolf" syndrome. These past four years, the opposition parties have latched on to EVERY little misstep and declared it "scandalous" and "an offront to democracy" and "disrespectful of Parliament" – and the media has jumped on board – to the point that Canadians now have a Pavlovian reaction to those terms, i.e. ignore them. Wafergate, anyone?

    I'd like to see the media take some responsibility for the general apathy of Canadians on this issue.

  98. My MP is in opposition – he must be so busy because he NEVER responds to any questions or comments that I send to him – weather parliament is sitting or not.

  99. "the rest of the working class in Canada doesn't care"……guess that says it all!

  100. Liberals=Losers

    Where's Iffy? Not in Canada.

    The opposition has the opportunity to participate in democracy by voting on the next Budget at the beginning of March.

    My guess is there will be just enough gutless Liberals abstaining, wandering the hallways or suddenly coming down with the flu for the Budget to pass.

  101. You think early signers-on are unlikely to be opponents of the Tories generally? Given the demographics of Facebook users, that's not a bet I'd make.

  102. Do these Tory sheep that make up the CPC caucus understand that without a functionning Parliament, they are irrelevant? They've become as useful as the Parliament's wallpaper.

    Who cares what they do in their respective riding? They do not have the power to help their constituents if they don't sit in Parliament.

  103. Remember fellow citizens…Coyne's job is to tell us how we should *feel* about something (powerless, of course), not what we should know about it.

    • I thought his job was to tell us what the point wasn't?

  104. The ignorance expressed in this post is mind boggling.

    I'm surprised you even bother to vote, Jules.

    I think of the Iranians who are dying in the streets as we speak as they pursue what we Canadians take for granted and I am embarrassed.

  105. Canada is the "group hug" ,"let's form a committee and talk the #@$% build consensus" nation. For Canadians to be outraged they would have to:

    a) Close all the Tim Horton's stores down
    b) I can't think of anything else, actually.

    Canadians don't take a stand. It's not what we do. We are centerists -ever fearful of making too much noise lest someone will notice. We make heroes and give McCain's Drinkin' Box commercials to Gold Medalists in the obscure Olympic sports that nobody pays attention to. We are notorious whiners, we think of our region first and our nation second, if at all. In short, we are whiny bitches, Andrew – why are you so surprised. The sound of our apathy is Canada's greatest contribution to democracy and as such, can anyone blame Harper for screwing with it? If Canadians don't care, then absolutely, the Harperites should try to get away with it. All Canadians will do (assuming they put down their double-doubles and chocky dips for more than 5 seconds) is shrug their shoulders and say, "meh… they're all the same… SWEET! Boxing Week Flyer from Future Shop!"

  106. Did you actually make that up?

    Each session of a Parliament ends with the prorogation of Parliament by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister. Most unfinished business dies and committees cease to function. Parliament then stands prorogued until the opening of the next session on a specified date. This date may be changed by a further proclamation.
    Government bills that have not received Royal Assent prior to prorogation can be reinstated in the next session only if the House takes a decision to this effect. All items of Private Members' Business are automatically reinstated. Tabling of documents before the House must await the beginning of the new session. Requests for responses to petitions and for the production of papers remain in effect, as do requests made for government responses to committee reports.

    So with the consent of the house one day BAM all legislation is back in. Sham wow!

  107. The Federal Government is an infestation of whips and queers…………. so who cares?

  108. During a period of prorogation (or recess), the Speaker, the Prime Minister, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries remain in office and all Members of the House retain their full rights and privileges.

    So a few committee are paused from their orginal Jan 25 return date, New date is March 3, 2010

    So 5 weeks 22 sitting days delayed?


    Liberals who moved all opposition days to avoid a non confidence motion over Adscam?

    Or Chretien infighting with Martin, how many did the Liberals pull with a stacked senate and majority?

    The move has flushed the senate and those obstructionist liberal senators no longer can hold or delay bills.

  109. Great logic, reminds me how the Liberals were found guilty to raising taxes by the Supreme Court on EI against employers, employees without resorting to the democratic rules.

  110. I know for the first time in a while, I've gotten much more engaged and active already than just blog comments and Facebook groups.

    You're referring to your Harper Holiday™ initiative?

  111. Hey, I'd storm the Bastille but I've misplaced my musket.

  112. PolJunkie writes: "The ignorance expressed in this post is mind boggling."

    Truth in advertising.

    Do you seriously think the Canadian situation is comparable to that of Iran?

  113. "Good; that makes it even easier to dismiss, if support is coming largely from opposition supporters who are doing it just to spite us "conbots."

    When do you think I was ever under the impression that anything is every hard for churlish and bilious ConBots dismiss?

    Dude! That's all you all are good at.

  114. He is exhaling Fire perfect for a Hamburger Commercial.

    • lol… If only. Maybe the french can show him what backbone means?

  115. They are angry because without the senate majority and control they will have to now do their work inside parliament. No more hiding behind the Liberal senators.

    Their time is up!

  116. You guys are unbelievable…AC is careful to highlight the chronology of the decline of our Parliament and indicate that's it's a creeping phenomenom, and your response is[hollnm] Whine! – it's all leftie crap; and you wail! – it's just a lazy biased media…no wonder parliament's in a mess…AC's right, raise a principled ocjection and all you get from the conbots is "nobody cares".

  117. It really burns

  118. If all else fails, call someone a name, great debate.!lol

  119. Its like Y2K all over again, hype hype hype.

  120. Wrong, Harer said tonight the bills he wanted to go through , have all gone through Except for the stupid unelected senate that is holding up the crime bill.Its22 days, get over it!

  121. No. Just a git.

  122. I think he was vying for a senate seat, and it didnt come through.

  123. My question is this, since Parliament wasn't scheduled to be back until 25th January anyway, and since the Olympics starts shortly afterwards, for two-ish weeks, if they make up the days later in the year will our democracy be restored?

    Is two or three weeks of Parliamentary sideshow the only thing standing between us and TYRANNY?

    Her Majesty may have a quibble with that, as will the thousands of civil servants, who work whether there's a Parliament or not, and our military, who swears allegiance to the Crown, not Parliament.

    Question, if Ignatieff had forced an election – as he promised to do, thereby not merely proroguing but dissolving Parliament, and leaving aside that he would have most certainly been punished by the voters, would that dissolution of Parliament, also for purely political reasons, and allowing several bills to die on the order paper etc., would that have represented the same TYRANNY as a mere prorogation of a few weeks?

  124. Get over yourselves. You Tory diehards are so dishonest…as AW showed on another blog, when the shoe was on the other foot and the libs were proroguing Harper, and not doubt you and holinm, were howling at the moon.

    • Actually using a prorogue to avoid a non-confidence motion, delaying all opposition days, ignoring a non-confidence motion on a technicality by the Liberal under Chretien/Martin were acceptable by routine uses?

      Those 22 sitting days or five weeks without QP end of the democracy?

      The Liberals were warned to stop playing games, now another lesson has been given. If you are interested in the 20th fake scandal push your birkenstockers to defeat this "despot" and let the votes confirm your reality one more time.

      Ignoring all the Poll from 2006-2009? The Liberals are DONE! Dustbin in history is coming be patient.

  125. BTW, to truly find out who is responsible for the immense concentration of power in the hands of the PMO, Liberals should look no further than themselves. Messrs Chretien and Trudeau are instructive.

    Some random thoughts of other un-Parliamentary TYRANTS:

    "When they are 50 yards from Parliament Hill, they are no longer honourable members, they are just nobodies." Pierre Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister

    "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Winston Churchill

    "Anybody who enjoys being in the House of Commons probably needs psychiatric help." Ken Livingstone (MP, Mayor of London)


  126. What are you, twelve years old?

    Honest to god, you really ought to get your parents' permission before using the internet.

  127. You might think it was the job of a political leader to get out in front of the public on this — to, you know, lead — but if so, you don't know Canadian politics.

    "Canadian" is probably redundant here.

  128. The supreme court did "not"find the govt guilty of any such thing [ not that i agreed with the libs]

    LKO's logic is fine. Under our parliamentary system he was not thwarting the letter of the law…the spirit of the law and ethics, well that likely another matter. Maureen is wrong – Chretien had every right to prorogue with no likelihood of losing a confidence vote [ i'm not defending the ethics of it] Harper would certainly have lost one vote, and very likely another. As to the PM resetting the agenda, that one's already been laughed out of court by almost every self respecting pundit in the land…you may believe it, but that don't make it so.

    • Every court of public opinion? Birkenstockers don't matter. Go look at the university student elections.
      The LPOC have <25 metric that's it. DONE.

      General Election decide who govern, not angry frustrated liberals in pj's joining facebook.

      How did those COP15 marches work out?

      95% of Canadians don't care and are not paying attention to this latest fake scandal.

  129. I don`t know what you know about the early days of the Reform Party but from what I heard it was not unusual for ordinary folks to spend 2 hours on a bus to arrive in a cold hall for a rally that ended up with a hat passed around filled with 5 and 10 dollar bills.

    You may be feeling it these days but good luck in getting those double-click Facebookers to get off their butts let alone make a financial contributions.

  130. The opposition has the opportunity to participate in democracy by voting on the next Budget at the beginning of March.

    Ah. How magnanimous of the government to deign to allow the Opposition an "opportunity to participate in democracy". And only three months from now!

    Democracy delayed is democracy denied.

    • Hiding behind the (less partisan unelected) Senate to delay and gut Bill passed in the house is the Liberal democracy.
      Brian Mulroney had to provide the teaching moment and voters rewarded him.

      The unelected Senate are abusing with the help of the opposition MP's. The Opposition MP's should reject the CPC Agenda in the house.

      Time is up, no more hiding behind the Liberal Senate.

  131. from the article-Still, Liberals want to avoid anything that might be dismissed as a partisan stunt.

    Iffy and the Liberals are a political stunt.

  132. *Yawn*

  133. avr – awesome post.

  134. That's an absurd opinion…give people credit for holding different views than yours. It's called democracy…the right to hold legitimately different views than yours.

  135. 'Does he think the nutty professor who thinks visiting universities is going to get him elected will make those changes"

    Lack of respect in and for Parliament…way to make Ac's point!

    • A lack of respect is easily fixed. The majority of opposition MP can withdraw their confidence in this government.

      The Rodney Dangerfield of opposition can visit the voters and get the official verdict.

  136. Wow, you sure convinced me.

  137. I'm sorry, but this is complete and utter nonsense. Nothing more than a partisan who hates the fact that Harper is being criticized.

  138. I doubt the majority of members of the group voted for Harper last time (the majority of Canadians didn't vote for Harper)

    And while most oppositions partisans on facebook will have joined, most of the joiners probably aren't partisans.

  139. Good point. The opposition and the Harper=Antichrist Crowd pump up the volume to 11 on every transgression. I think it has the effect of making a lot of people tune out. The same argument has been made about the politics of climate change, i.e., that if you tell people the sky is falling 24/7 365 days a year, eventually they just tune out.

  140. Yes, but Stephen Harper is evil, so it's different this time.

  141. Good column AC. I wonder if we might even reach south of the border for an anology? Bush's disregard for the spirit of the law [ i suppose Roosevelt started it all…the President is the law??] was not adequately opposed by either the media or the dems…now we see that Obama, while a huge step up IMHO, has not relinquished those powers…what next? what does the futurehold there i wonder?

  142. I'm sure that you are the same person who thought that a coalition government was anti-democratic too. You can't pick and choose which parts of Canadian government are good and which are bad just because you support the Tories

  143. Well, I don't know about purest of Westminster tradition, I'm not sure we ever had that, but certainly democratic tradition.

    Here's the thing. It is now perfectly acceptable to prorogue when a scandal is about to hit. So, when whatever government of the future is suspected of siphoning our money off to mafia kingpins, or their own pockets, tough luck Canadians. Not a damn thing you can do about it, because the government will simply close up shop until they can a) get enough of their own members to squelch any investigation (I mean like appointing a new Auditor General without letting the prior Auditor General table his/her scathing report.) Or b) find a scandal on the opposition's part that will cancel out any investigations they may otherwise have been willing to pursue, or c) wait until some world crisis occurs and Canadians no longer have the time or inclination to look into whatever it is. It is now precedent–if we don't stand up and fight it this time.

  144. And let us not forget how "grassroots" of a campaign that Stop the TV Tax was. And what did that cost them? $20 million in a TV and radio ad campaign for what, 80,000 Facebook friends, of which what proportion were employees of the firms involved?

    Very comparable indeed. NOT.

    Nice try. NOT

  145. I don't doubt Harper has a full day. But how much of it is spent governing, and how much of it it spent strategizing?

  146. You call that a valid rebuttal and you call yourself "frenchie"? OMFG what a con tool. You guys really are that stupid, aren't you? What a bigot. If you want to vote for the Archie Bunker party, be my guest. It's guys like you who remind everyone what the cons are really like. You'll never win a majority. LMFAO!

    • Was Archie Bunker out of his country for 34 years to return an be called King?

      What does a Riley know about tools?

      Have you ripped off you Canadian Flag on your backpack yet?

    • Laugh away, I will have the last laugh.Without my ass intact.

  147. The one getting 'high and mighty' is you. Swaggering doesn't translate onto the internet.

  148. Evidently you didn't read the post above, because LKO was referring to the fact that Chretien's government enjoyed a parliamentary majority continuously from 1993 to 2003.

  149. subtlety or stupidity? avr, even you aren't dumb enough to buy what you just said to me.

  150. The Liberals have announced they will be back at work in the house of commons on January 25th — the day Parliament was originally scheduled to return. Harper is going to look pretty stupid.

  151. If you want a real laugh go to the new Conservative Oasis sight (the Canadian one).

  152. HAR! The Facebook page is a joke. It's university students and liberal and NDP supporters, who think they now have something to complain about…. The rest of the working class in Canada doesn't care, for they are busy working and raising families. Its what happens when University Kids grow up, have families, and realize that in University land, where complaining about seals and polar bears (who's populations are at their strongest in decades…) stops mattering because you now have responsibility.

    It's when realizing that the Liberals did it many times, it only extends the scheduled break for a few extra weeks, and it's when you grow up and realize that Harper, a real smart guy, will now appoint 5 more senators, and responsible bills like crime legislation and scraping the registry, can now happen. In the end this will probably speed up parliament.

    For the better of the majority of TAX PAYING, FAMILY RAISING, NO LONGER ABLE TO BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE Lie-berals and their supporters, and the economy we need.

  153. If it's on Facebook it must be true!

  154. Well, where are the opposition parties then? Complaining yes, but since they got their hands slapped this time last year, they clearly are not prepared to do anything (and not that I think they should).

    Regardless of the numbers that Chretien had, he had solid majorities and had 100% control of the agenda – he had no need to prorogue Parliament, but he did. Let's remember him as the PM with solid majorities and still took the country into unnecessary elections only to score points when the opposition was at its weakest. I have no problem with a minority PM 'resetting' the agenda particularly when the opposition parties continued to act like children focusing on 'gotcha' moments rather than engaging in debate on issues of susstance, and the Senate willfully rejecting/rewriting legislation passed by an elected body.

  155. What's awesome about unapologetic cynicism?

    • We call it being honest you label us deniers.

      Take you head out from your arse long enough to realize

      1) Media are blowing smoke
      2) Political Parties of all stripes use the rules to their advantage
      3) Canadians students are going to unite behind Iffy?

      Who is the denier now?

    • kcm, I readily concede that my attitude is coloured by my generally cynical attitude towards facebook. I've always considered facebook to be massively overrated in every respect. My bias, but I think it's a well-founded bias.

  156. The Jan 25 return date was after a months break. So it's 2 1/2 months without a functioning parliament. Important decisions need to be made about our role in Afghanistan post 2011. We are barely recovering from what Harper described as the worst financial crisis since the Depression. Our environmental policy is about to be dictated to us by the Americans, Security has become an issue again. I think it would be more than useful for the House to be sitting. If not now – when?

  157. this isn't exactly between government and parliament, although your point is well taken.

    The problem with the sort of discussion you would like to see happen Mr.Coyne, becomes apparent as soon as it starts because too many humans are incapable of reasonable debates. Methinks the human intellect is getting ……what shall we say…….dumber by the day?

  158. Jan,

    The Liberals MP's for the most part have been the best cheerleaders of the CPC agenda.

    You can check how'd they vote on those Bills. The NDP stepped in Sept to avoid an election because the Liberals were trying to shift the blame to the NDP/Bloc for the CPC agenda.

    Do you remember the Jack and Gilles jokes from the Liberals? Remember the NDP rolling out a cake for the Liberals voting over 50x for the CPC agenda?

    The opposition are playing games and not doing their job in parliament. The NDP rejected the January budget in December before reading it.

    All of 2009 the opposition have played gothca with fake scandals.

    All of the opposition parties rejected the Manley Report, and extension of the mission including the Liberals led by Dion. Only a few Liberals broke rank.

    The opposition don't support the mission, they are using the field note from of an Afghan hitting another with shoes to yell war crime, cover up from 3 years ago.

    In eight years, only one person has stepped forward and made unsupported allegations and the opposition have pounced again and decided everyone else's testimony is not credible.

    The media is responsible for feeding and pushing the latest fake issue.

    Like H1N1, torch relay, unfair spending in ridings, Novelty cheques, olympic logos, the opposition are NOT interested in helping Canadians.

    Prorogue is a routine matter, a few committees have been delayed by 22 sitting days. The RESET will change the composition of the Senate committees and the liberals will not be allowed to block or gut any bill in the Senate.

    The opposition can not hide behind them anymore. Democracy and the WILL of parliament will be better as a result. The opposition were abusing the Role of the Senate and avoiding their duty in rejecting the CPC Agenda in the house.

    The government warned them many times to stop playing games.

    Time is Up for the opposition MP's.

  159. Mr.Coyne, I can't believe you stoop so low as to take anything that happens on facebook to be revolting in nature. But then again….
    Perhaps by taking such "revolutionary" action seriously, we collectivly show how hollow democracies are becoming…….push that button and be done with it. or something like that. Read Maude Barlow's latest in the GM and wonder how close she comes to the facebook crowd. Enough said.

  160. Those of us who do care are going to have convince other citizens who aren't paying attention that they should, too.

  161. At the outset let me say clearly that I am a Conservative voter. Now that that is out of the way; Coyne, this is merely a symptom of the much larger Constitutional dilemma that plagues us and has been a cancer in our system for several political generations; the concentration of practical power in the PMO.
    Harper is not the first to use prorogue Parliament for baser political gain and the cynically pious chest thumping of the opposition is, as you say, little more than envy. But the growth of the PMO, the gathering up of all the strands, levers and instruments of the practical application of federal power in this country is the true test (or more properly, threat)of Parliamentary democracy in this country. Every election that passes, regardless of outcome entrenches this strange abberation deeper in our version of Parliamentary Democracy.

  162. Only 3 of the bills that just died were even IN the Senate!!! 17 Bills from Harper's agenda were still in his damned POCKET for Pete's sake. Not even the Liberal Senate is doing as good a job at delaying Stephen Harper's legislative agenda as Stephen Harper is! He just killed his own crime bill for the SECOND TIME, and now he's going to spend yet another session complaining about how he can't get a crime bill through.

    It's ridiculous.

  163. Proroguing Parliament when you're technically capable of winning a vote in the House asking that Parliament be prorogued is different from proroguing Parliament when you're not.

    Even proroguing Parliament just so the PM doesn't have to sit in the House with a certain MP is less disgusting than proroguing Parliament so that the government doesn't have to keep fighting off an official inquiry into their actions. I just don't see how the proroguing of Parliament for internal political reasons by a party which has been elected to a majority of the seats in the House of Commons is even REMOTELY as bad as a government with a minority of seats in the House proroguing Parliament in order to shut down the investigation of a Parliamentary committee into said government and to take some heat off the government for UTTERLY IGNORING a majority vote in the House of Commons demanding that the government produce documents to the House.

    Also, I'm sick to death of the "Harper's only doing what Chretien always did" line of argument from Tories. OK then, I guess I was just DELUSIONAL to think that the Tories were going to be different from the Liberals. I don't know why I thought they planned to do things differently. To be transparent and accountable. It's not like the ran every successful election they've had in two decades on a "We're different from the Liberals" banner or anything.

    I guess I should have listened more carefully to all of Harper's passionate "I plan to run Parliament in the tradition of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin" speeches from the 2006 and 2008 elections.

  164. Just when I think that Ignatieff can't get any dumber, he does something to prove me wrong. It's getting to the point where he's making Dion look like the smart one.

    Donolo & Kinsella just aren't helping him much.

  165. He is going back to work- QP should be a hoot!

  166. We scoff at such overheated rhetoric now, but if Canadians in the 1950s had been presented with the package of **changes that have occurred since then** in the way we are governed, they would have risen up in revolt.

    Well sure, things change. So we should govern ourselves in a way that would please people in the 1950's?

    Uhh, OK.

    One wonders how people from the 1950's would have thought about abortion, equal rights for women, gay rights (to say nothing about marriage), comparitively exorbitant taxation rates – both income and sales taxes, etc. etc.

    Jeez, my Grandfather called the Beatles 'freaks'…how quaint.


  167. Two things:

    Other PMs have prorogued Parliament for less worthy reasons; this is no precedent.
    Second, if this is what it takes to reform the Senate (very worthy reason), then I'm all for it.


  168. Gotta love the story makes fun of Iggy and Layton for going on vacation!

    The CONservatives gave themselves a longggg vacation!
    Why is it okay that Harper completely ignores democratic process?
    He did this before!

    This is a prime minister who doesn’t care about anything but his own power,
    think of how much worse it could be if he had a majority!

    Time to hold Harper accountable.
    This is a big deal!

    With World Hockey Juniors over and Olympics still a few months away, time to get outraged and catch up on all the stuff Harper has tried to pull.

    Harper stuck Canada in recession, after the Liberals decade of surpluses, debt repayment and job creation.
    Harper suspended Parliament, twice, for no good reason, other than the bad economy, prolonged deficit and recovery and Afghan military casualties were making him look bad. Sure he learned to play the piano … he’s still a bad and dishonest guy though!

    • He has always played the piano, he hasn't always been PM.He has done a lot with a' minority' government, I look forward to when he has a majority and he has the senate.Great times ahead, sorry about Iggy.It was Toronto's choice.

  169. Spit spot, cheerio and good show!

    Dress warmly for the march.

  170. Please name the PM's who prorogued Parliament for reasons that were "less worthy" than "to shut down the investigation of a Parliamentary Committee, and quiet questions as to why the government is ignoring a majority vote in the House of Commons demanding that the government produce certain documents before Parliament" and what those reasons were.

    As for the Senate, I wish the PM luck with that. It seems to me that replacing a Senate that is stalling patently unconstitutional and unenforceable legislation that attempts to reform the Senate unilaterally with a Senate that is willing to vote in favour of patently unconstitutional and unenforceable legislation that attempts to reform the Senate unilaterally misses the point by a fair margin. I fear this whole "Senate reform" plan is going to lead to an even bigger debacle than their meaningless and moot "fixed election date" legislation, and I didn't think ANY piece of legislation could be crafted to give that piece of fluff a run for it's money as most meaningless and ineffectual legislation ever passed by the House.

    To me, this is the equivalent of proroguing Parliament so that you can stack the Senate because the current Senate is taking too long to pass your legislation declaring that henceforth the Governor General shall only be appointed following a vote of all Tim Horton's manager's in the country. So you stack the Senate and go take on the opposition over their love of donuts (or lack thereof) and the Supreme Court sits back and quietly laughs at how casually your government is willing to ignore the Constitution, and sighs at how it's them that's going to have to clean up the mess you make.

  171. Yeah, unless I join a facebook group, I'm a Bad Canadian. Or a ConBot. Or both.

  172. So I wasn't aware that the Liberals were opposed to the massive stimulus spending that Canada has been doing over the last year or so. I had thought that they were in favour of it, and in fact threatened to bring the Tory government down unless the Tories aggressively jacked up spending. Or, alternatively, are the Liberals on record as saying that they'd jack the GST back up to 6 or 7%? Do tell.

  173. LCO,
    First your hate for Harper is your problem.

    Second the Government can reintroduce EVERYTHING with the persmission of the House immediately with only 22 days or a 5 week delay.

    The FACT remains now the MP's can NOT hide behind the Senate. They will either vote up or down and the do their work.

    Prorogue is a routine matter allowed in our Constitution. The Liberals under Chretien with majorities abused the Senate against BM and now Harper.

    The unelected Senate role is a less partisan role. The wimps in the opposition have used them since 2006 to delay and gut policy.

    Remember the same liberals in senate delaying the budget in 2009? When their delays were going to hurt the unemployed were reported by the media they retreated again?

    Your bias against the Harper gov't is clear.

    I did not whine chanting despot about the Liberals prorogue and I still don't cry now.

    Need a link on how many public inquiries were shut down or how many times the auditor General was NOT allowed to investigate the Liberals?

    The Liberals were the only government to my knowledge who called in the army in our city streets. How many arrests? What was the total and where was the problem again?

    When the RCMP and Liberals rounded up (detained) university students pepper sprayed at UBC (APEC) had a CBC reporter suspended where were you?

    Partisan Hacks who live a glass house should

    a) learn their history
    b) remain very quiet
    c) open their mouth and remove any doubt how stupid they are.

    • And this bit of literary nonsense is why Canadiansense has been banned from posting on several blogs…

  174. The Accountability Act, the Auditor General has been given more to investigate?

    Follow the Liberals?

    Liberals who left Omar Khadr @ 15 for 4 years in GITMO (not a peep) than after 2006 called it racism?

    Liberals who did not send troops to Iraq by sending our Navy to patrol their waters?

    Liberals who were against Free Trade and GST and than flipped both?

  175. The Evolution of the Conservative party: Tories… Progressive Conservatives… Reform & Progressive Conservatives… Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Reform Alliance… The Conservative Party of Canada… The Liberal Party of Canada.

    Congratulations Prime Minister, you've become everything you've always told us you despised.

  176. Coyne's hero P E T thought of MP's as 'nobodies', gave the finger to citizens of the country (literally), destroyed the English common-law tradition of the Canada by turning the real law-making authority over to the courts, and enacted martial law on specious grounds. All of this happened nearly 40 years ago, and only now is he concerned about a 'path to despotism'?? Whatever Coyne….

    • Nice bit of revisionist history there. Did you get your talking points from the PMO?

  177. Then you should be happy, shouldn't you?

  178. Harper "did a lot" with a "minority" government?

    That's hilarious.

    First, he prorogued parliament twice
    Second, he's led Canada into its largest annual deficit ever – the Liberals weathered a couple US econimic issues of smaller scale (ie. tech bubble) paying off debt all the way. The CONservatives? We'll have a few decades to pay for a few years of Harper.

    Bravo big guy.

  179. Heh, I suspect you're trolling a bit.

    It is a fair point that the federal government did weather a couple of small corrections in the 90's, though there was a severe recession in the early 90's before Chretien took over, and they largely rode the wave…but I ask you, how did the provinces/municipalities/health system come through that decade?

    You can think about that while you're waiting in the emergency room for 10 hours ('cause you don't have a family doctor).

  180. "If you want to see me again, don't bring signs saying 'Trudeau is a pig' and don't bring signs that he hustles women, because I won't talk to you. I didn't get into politics to be insulted. And don't throw wheat at me either. If you don't stop that, I'll kick you right in the ass."


    Actually that's pretty cool. He'd of done it too.

  181. This is fantastic reading.

    Apparently we've been down this particular road to TYRANNY before…

    Those who don't know their history are doomed to something, something, something.

    It reminds me of a story. I was sitting at Trudeau the other day, and the afternoon flight to Newark was delayed (this was pre-crotchbomber).

    Ater about 15min. of delay, the woman beside me was literally frothing with anger. Unacceptable, unbelievable!

    "This is pretty normal actually" says I. New York City airspace etc.

    "Oh, OK" she says, and returns to her magazine.

    But this, THIS IS TYRANNY!!!!

  182. Yes, but you see, Trudeau was a charismatic saint who made Central Canadians swoon with rapture. Harper is an evil kitten-strangler from the benighted West.

  183. Kind of ironic that the original story was written by Scott Feschuk.

  184. The Evolution of the Liberal Party…. Lie. Liberal. LIE-beral!!

    • I think it might be more entertaining as the De-evolution of the Liberal Party: Liberal–> LIE-beral–>Lie

      however, I'm very annoyed with the all caps LIEberal and CONservative (as posted above by Dink, oh sorry, Dirk above…was that too hypocritical??)

      I got it the first time. I got it the second time. please, get over it. PLEASE!

      As for the article, I'm in the "too busying living my life" to get excited about this issue. it's politics, this is a "trick". The chess game will continue when the govt sits again.

  185. Your sarcasm is getting old OB. I doubt Coyne approved Trudeau's excesses, in fact i know he didn't…common law overturned…whar rot. In any case the record of Parliament pre charter was not so great. Martial law on specious grounds..what specious grounds? Utter twaddle…Harper is exactly the kind of guy who'd have enacted the WMA…and he'd have been right at the time too.

  186. Trudeau was a man – that's for sure…lots of cons thought so too. Harper would have sued the guy.

    • I thought he was an ego maniac on steroids.He made me puke.

  187. Andrew, I think the lowest voter turn out ever in 2006 is indicative of the cynicim many Canadians have towards Ottawa. There's no shortage of reasons to be cynical, be it the Mulroney scandal that will never quite die, the Liberal Ad-Scam, or Mr, Harper's seeming disdain of the electorate in this country.
    I believe this is why voter turn out in 2006 hit a record low, apathy.
    Given this I'd agree that some members of the Facebook group are indeed partisan, but of those now 80K people I bet some of them are people who haven't been part of the disengaged group who have found an issue to get them re-engaged. The group is now bigger then Ignatieff or Laytons FB groups combined (and bigger then Harpers) so maybe it's bringing some of the grassroots out.
    It is really easy to press a "Join" button in Facebook, so I think the protest day will really be the gauge of just who these people are and how engaged they are.

  188. By proroging parliament in order to shut down the Afghan detainee inquiry that was proving very damaging to the Conservatives (and rightfully so), the Conservatives have crossed a line that most Canadians will not tolerate or easily forgive. The latest EKOS poll shows the Conservatives numbers are continuing to fall fairly rapidly:
    (See… )
    Cons 33.1%, Libs 27.8%, NDP 16%, Green 13.4%, Bloc 9.8%.

  189. Wow…so the poll results are back to where they were last spring/summer…Get Iggy to threaten another election and we'll see what happens to the polls lol.

  190. The Facebook group is now over 108,000 (not the one with Ezra); and there is a website:

  191. It's always politics. Nothing more, nothing less.